Friday, September 8, 2017

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Release Date - September 12, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 496 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.


Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse. 
The synopsis for this book grabbed me with its twist on the 'chosen one' trope. Add in some dragons and I was sold. Jodi Meadows has written an imaginative, character driven fantasy novel that ended up surprising me in a lot of ways.

This setting for this story is not based off any real place, or culture. It is entirely made up, and that makes for a rich, engaging world. My favourite fantasy novels are often the ones where the world building is so rich and vivid, and this is found within this novel in spades. The world was, for me, one of the most fascinating elements of the story. The story of how the islands came to be, the gods that each island worship, and the connection to dragons that their mythology has, all serviced the arc of the story. It made it richer and more authentic. You believe that for the characters their mythology is more than just a myth. It is a warning to be heeded, and a thing to be treasured and beloved.

This is more of a character driven novel than a plot driven one which means, as a result, that it tends to move a little slower than some may want their fantasy reads to. Most of it takes place in the Pit, a prison like confine that offers horrific treatment to those within in. It provides the perfect opportunity to see Mira grow and be in her head. I think it sets up the rest of the story really well, and am curious to see how the second book changes in tone and speed after the events that close out this installment of Mira's story.

Mira is a sheltered girl. She just wants to spend time with her friends and her beloved dragons. She is kind and caring. She'll probably remind you a little of Newt Scamander in that she loves animals and nature. She's naive and trusting to a fault when we first meet her. This type of character will either appeal to you or frustrate you. She is not one for decisive action. She can be brave when the situation calls for it, but she's also cautious. It, as mentioned,  makes the story slower as she is not quick to act. I could relate to her, so I was fine with her character. She has a lot of character growth as she learns to use her voice, and comes into her own, but it is a process to get there. She will never be ruthless or overtly vicious, and I love that about her. She may learn more about herself, but she remains true to the person she is.

Mira's character has a bit of the 'chosen one' trope about her. She is influential and privileged due to her title. There is a certain prestige to being both beautiful and the Hopebearer. Jodi Meadows twists that a little by making her feel like a character that is so much more than that trope. The way that Mira's panic attacks are woven into her character was well done. The attacks themselves felt incredibly authentic. She is presented as someone with severe anxiety brought on by events in her past and I felt that the book did a good job of having it be part of who the character is and not all that she is.

Those looking for dragons will find plenty of them as the story progresses. It is mostly though backstory that we see them, and their place in this world that has been created. They are vital to the plot in so many ways, and I predict they will remain so as the story continues.

I know there was some debate about the representation within this novel. I am not the person to discuss that. I do, however, urge people to look for reviews from people of colour if they want to get some feedback on that element of the story. I will say that, for me, it read as a fantasy novel where a girl got to start down her path to being a bad ass, befriend dragons, and just also happens to have black skin.

I am especially intrigued with where Jodi Meadows leaves Mira's story at the end of this first installment. It's a perfect jumping off point for us to go deeper into the mythology. It also provides plenty of theory fodder for fans to discuss and dissect. If you're into fantasy novels that feature girls learning to be bad ass in their own way, and dragons, I highly recommend this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments. Thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you even more for leaving me a comment.

I have decided to make this an awards free blog. I appreciate the gesture, and love that you thought of my blog, however I simply can't pass them along as required.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...